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Burgum announces “A+” grade in CyberStart America competition, encourages statewide participation

Registration open until Feb. 28 for free online program

The office of Gov. Doug Burgum announced that North Dakota received an “A+” grade in the first two months of CyberStart America, an innovative, online cybersecurity competition sponsored by the National Cyber Scholarship Foundation and SANS Institute.

The competition encourages high school students to explore their aptitude for cybersecurity and computer science with a chance to win prizes and scholarships. The “A+” grade is based on current participation of 26 students from 12 schools. Participants vie to win one of 800 $2,500 college scholarships and about 3,000 U.S. Cyber Challenge summer camp scholarships.

“Recent headlines about global cyberattacks have underscored the need and exponentially growing demand for cybersecurity skills,” said Burgum in the press release. “Leveraging these free resources is a valuable way to give students access to tools and knowledge that will benefit them regardless of career path, and we encourage every high school student to participate.”

“We need 50 more students to participate to keep our A+ rating going into the last two months,” said State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler in the press release. “Our educators are doing a phenomenal job keeping students engaged during the pandemic, and this is an excellent resource for 21st century skills that offer limitless job opportunities. Take advantage and sign up today!”

The free program involves a series of online challenges that allow students to act as cyber protection agents, solving cybersecurity-related puzzles, and explore topics such as code breaking, programming, networking, and digital forensics. Participating students and teachers do not need knowledge or experience in information technology or cybersecurity to take part. Everything they need can be learned in the game.

Complete details may be found at www.cyberstartamerica.org. Registration is open through Feb. 28, 2021. Participating students and schools are encouraged to share updates on social media with #BeCyberSmart and #InnovativeND. A workshop for students and teachers on the scholarships and game will also be held at 2:30 p.m.Jan. 14. Register at this link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/ WN–K8uVRGDDQ8mh0o8em7zCrw

Educators are also encouraged to mark their calendars for IgniteND, June 7-11, , a weeklong event dedicated to innovative education and providing hands-on workshops for K-12 teachers in computer science and cybersecurity. Visit www.IgniteND.com for more details.

North Dakota’s focus on computer science and cybersecurity education stems from the K-20W Initiative: a statewide, comprehensive approach to help students, and the state, compete in highly competitive, technology-driven industries. Code named “K-20W” to reflect every student from kindergarten through PhD and workforce, the K-20W coalition is comprised of more than 40 public and private sector participants who share a goal of “Every Student. Every School. Cyber Educated.” The Initiative was a 2020 CSO50 Award winner and was a Golden GOVIT finalist.

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